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Ahh, another blast from the past. I don’t know what it is, but I’m on a massive re-reading binge at the moment. I first read Dee Tenorio’s Betting Hearts in 2006, how amazing is that? Where has the time gone?

Anyway, I still enjoyed this book as much as I did the first time.

Without further ado, here’s the blurb

When Cassandra bishop’s ex-fiance shows up with the prerequisite, blonde haired, big boobed bimbo in tow, and announces that he’s getting married, she’s absolutely gobsmacked. Not because she’s still in love with him, but because, he broke their engagement a year ago, after telling her that he was gay.
Things go from bad to worse, when bastard ex-fiance tells cassandra, that the real reason he broke up with her was because she wasn’t woman enough for him. The swine!

Cassandra being the fiery tempered broad that she is, decides to rearrange his well-placed nose.

Devastated by this revelation, Cassie gets drunk as a skunk, and ends up at her best friend, Burke Halifax’s house at stupid o’clock. A ritual which Burke has long become familiar with.

For the past twenty-two years, Burke has made it his life’s work to make sure that nobody hurts Cassie. She’s the best friend he’s got, and he’ll be damned if a snivelling little fuckwit like bastard-ex-fiance is gonna hurt his friend.

Things start to get out of hand when bef issues a wedding invitation to cassie, out of spite.

Burke foolishly bets Cassie’s prized car that she’ll be the hottest woman at bastard-ex-fiance and big boobed bimbo’s wedding. Cassie herself is determined to prove that she is woman enough for any man, least of all her BEF, and thus the make-over of one Cassandra Bishop begins, with a few mishaps along the way, to keep things interesting.

Will burke and Cassie finally work out that they float each other’s boat, or will they keep looking for love in all the wrong places?

My Verdict

I. Loved. This. Book.

I don’t ask for a lot in romance. Seriously, I don’t. I don’t give a fuck about dangling participles, definite articles or prepositions. I’ll leave those worries to editors. As long as the book is written in plain common-sense English, I’m happy. I want good characterisation, an interesting plotline, and a writing ‘voice’ that doesn’t compel me to hang myself from the nearest lampost.

This book met all my requirements, and so much more besides.

Betting Hearts was an extremely well written book. I loved the dialogue between the hero and heroine. I loved that Tenorio had put a different spin, on a much re-hashed plot device, and she also had some cracking characters.

It’s been absolutely ages since I laughed so much I nearly wet myself, (not literally of course because I do actually have excellent control of my bladder) but Betting Hearts had me laughing from the first page, to the last.

Tenorio’s voice appealed to me because she kept it simple. She didn’t try to wear her brains in her book, as so many authors try to do, and she had the ability to let me (the reader) come to my own conclusions, rather than insulting my intelligence, and explaining everything from the thread to the needle. She was able to draw me in from the very beginning, and kept me reading until late into the night.

I loved the two central characters in this book.

Cassandra Bishop was a woman who I could be friends with if she’d been a real person. She was laugh out loud funny, and regardless of her bad choices when it came to the BEF, she was actually a woman in control of her own life.

Although she was a tomboy at heart, I could relate to her. She wasn’t a Mary Sue-Goody-Two-Shoes type heroine, far from it in fact. She could be very manipulative, especially when it came to pushing Burke’s buttons. She also had a wicked temper, but she was very funny, and hugely endearing.
I loved the fact that when she realised that Burke was the man for her, she didn’t waste any time pontificating, and instead, just went for it. My kind of heroine.

Burke Halifax was also my ideal hero. Rough around the edges, but loyal as hell. I’m partial to male leads who make me envious of their heroines. He was manly, without being an asshole. His obvious feelings for Cassie was one of the most attractive things about him. I loved his reaction to discovering that his best friend had breasts, and the guilt he harboured over his new, lewd, and lascivious thoughts about her.

Cassie’s friendship meant a lot to Burke, and this is something that Tenorio managed to convey brilliantly within the opening pages of this story. It’s not often I go all girly over a book, but I did find myself tilting my head to the side, placing both hands on my cheeks, and sighing in appreciation at Tenorio’s ability to mentally and emotionally, take me along Cassie and Burke’s tentative voyage into previously uncharted territory.

The secondary characters in this book included, Cassie’s brother, Hayne, who was sweet, if a little dumb, Bastard Ex Fiance’s new fiancee, Sally, and Cassie’s father. They all had their part to play, without taking anything away from the central characters. I do hate it when authors present you with so many secondary personalities that you forget who the main chipolatas are.

What I loved most about Betting Hearts was how romantic it actually was. I know that this should be a given in a fictional romance story, but I’ve read a fair few books in the past, which although were romance books, were actually not very romantic. I know that you guys will know exactly what I mean.

My one and only complaint about Betting Hearts, was the feeling that the ending had been slightly rushed, in an attempt to meet the deadline and the word count, but fuck it, I’m not even gonna go there, because I was still able to totally look beyond that, and enjoy the story.

I’ve always loved the friends to lovers theme, when written well, and Dee Tenorio certainly did herself justice with this book.

PS, the cover still sucks.

You can read an excerpt here, buy the book from Amazon.com at the Kindle Store here and from Amazon UK here.

1 Comment »

  • Jane G
    September 6
    8:17 am

    What happened with the new fiance of the bastard ex?


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